4 Rules to Successful Negotiation

Negotiation is truly an art. To be able to get what you want while making sure the other person is still happy can be much easier said than done. Being a skilled negotiator will benefit you in every facet of your life; from being able to deal with your significant other to being able to make more money at your job. Having raised close to $26,000 for TEDxUMassAmherst and having worked in a sales related role for the past 2 years I’ve learned a few things about negotiation. Here are the 4 most critical things I’ve learned.

1. Have the power to say No.

  • This is arguably the most important skill for any great negotiator. Simply put, the
    person who can say no has all of the power in any negotiation. NEVER sell yourself
    short. What you ask for in your mind is what you feel like you deserve. Accept anything less and the other person has won the negotiation. I’m not saying to never compromise, however, I am saying to never go below your own personal threshold. You’d be surprised how much more you will get when you reject a bad offer.

2. Ethos (Credibility), Pathos (Emotional) and Logos (Reasoning).

  • Ethos means to convince your audience of something by letting them know you’re a credible source. Notice how in the intro I mentioned I raised money and had a sales job. This makes me a credible source and makes you more likely to believe me.

  • Pathos means to appeal to your audiences emotions. Ever see those commercials for the ASPCA of all of the battered puppies that makes you feel like tearing your heart out? They appeal to their consumers emotions to elicit action (donations).

  • Logos means to persuade your audience with reasoning. This generally involves numbers and stats. “You can buy a gas guzziling SUV, or you can buy a Tesla which will get you 300 miles to the gallon, tax refunds and save you an average of $6,500 a year on gas”.

  • Being able to identify which of these 3 means of persuasion to use in your negotiation is KEY to successful negotiation. Some people could care less about the numbers but care more about feeling good about themselves and giving back to the community. Meanwhile, some people just want to deal with an expert. Know your audience and know how to persuade them.

3. Ask the right questions.

  • Asking questions is more important than answering questions. The more you can get the person you are negotiating with to speak the more ammo you have in your arsenal which you can use in negotiating. Start with more general questions, and then take them down a funnel to more targeted questions. An example of a bad exchange is this. “Does this car come in green”? “Yes it does”. You have ended that transaction right there. A better exchange would be the following. “Does this car come in green”? “Well, would you like to buy this car in green”?. That question elicits a response and you can then take it from there.

4. Make your intentions clear.

  • Right off the bat, let the person know what you want. This way, there are no

    Dwight didn't make his intentions clear and has been paying the price since moving to LA.

    surprises at the end when things are coming to a close. If you want to go watch “The Purge” in the movie theaters and not “The Intern”, tell whomever you are going with right away instead of waiting until the movie theaters. You will have a MUCH higher chance of convincing them in the early stage vs in the late stage. By the time they get to the movie theaters, they most likely already have their mind set on what they want to do while if you talk to them the a few hours beforehand they are a bit more impressionable.

While there is a lot more that goes into negotiation, these are 4 things that I have used every single time I have negotiated with someone. Nothing about negotiation is comfortable, as a matter of fact, negotiation is pretty awkward. You have to really put yourself out there and not be afraid to ask for what you want. However, you only learn when you are out of your comfort zone and you get better each and every time you engage in a negotiation where you didn’t settle. In my opinion, the only way you can lose a negotiation is if you settle for less than you wanted. Saying “no” doesn’t mean you lost, it just means you’re holding out for better.